Relative Strangers: Family Life, Genes and Donor Conception

Relative Strangers: Family Life, Genes and Donor Conception

Paperback Palgrave MacMillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life

By (author) Petra Nordqvist, By (author) Carol Smart

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  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 214mm x 12mm | 260g
  • Publication date: 4 February 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 1137297662
  • ISBN 13: 9781137297662
  • Illustrations note: 5 black & white tables, 1 figures
  • Sales rank: 465,023

Product description

What does it mean to have a child born through donor conception? Does it mean different things for heterosexual parents and lesbian parents? What is it like for the 'non-genetic' parent? How do grandparents feel about having a grandchild who is conceived with the help of an egg, sperm or embryo donor? Since 1991 more than 35,000 children have been born in the UK as a result of donor conception. This means that more and more families are facing the issue of incorporating 'relative strangers' into their families. In this path breaking book, the authors explore the lived reality of donor conception in families by using in-depth interviews with parents and grandparents of donor conceived children. With reproductive medical technologies becoming more accessible, assisted donor conception is raising new and important questions about family life. This book will provide compelling reading for all those interested in the family, kinship, gender and sexuality, new reproductive technologies, and genetics.

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Author information

Petra Nordqvist is Lecturer in Sociology in the Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life at the University of Manchester, UK. Carol Smart is Professor of Sociology in the Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life at the University of Manchester, UK. Her recent publications include Personal Life and Same Sex Marriages (with B. Heaphy and A. Einarsdottir).

Review quote

"This book isn't a dry academic tome ... it is accessible and can be read by anyone with an interest in donor conception. I would strongly recommend it to parents of donor-conceived children to whom it could be enormously reassuring." - Sarah Norcross, BioNews "The insights gained in the in-depth interviews with members of lesbian and heterosexual couple families who have used donor conception are beyond anything I have ever come across before, and should be enormously helpful in re-assessing both the policy and practice of the range of support that needs to be in place at every stage of the donor conception family journey." - Olivia's View blog "The book is very interesting and a good illustration of some of some of the changes, dynamics and fluidities of family life." - Network: Magazine of the British Sociological Association "Intelligent and informed reflection on how the interviewees themselves have come to work on the relevant issues, how their own uses of metaphors relating to genes and the contribution of donor gametes have been shaped by their experiences, and how this work reflects on family life and kinship more widely." - Journal of Social Policy 'It is not often that an academic book can be described as truly delightful, but, in the case of Relative Strangers such a description is certainly appropriate.' - Sociology of Health & Illness

Table of contents

Introduction 1. Proper Families? Cultural Expectations and Donor Conception 2. Uncharted Territories: Donor Conception in Personal Life 3. Ripples Through the Family 4. Keeping it Close: Sensitivities and Secrecy 5. Opening Up: Negotiating Disclosure 6. Donors: Strangers, Boundaries and Tantalising Knowledge 7. (Not) One of Us: Genes and Belonging in Family Life 8. Relative Strangers and the Paradoxes of Genetic Kinship